Hell in a Handbasket

Sep 1, 2022 | 2022 Fall - Parenting While Bi+

By Jaime M. Grant

I had my first baby in my late 30s, and my last in my mid-40s. The first one seemed an impossible mountain to climb—my mother was dead, her brutal homophobia finally put to rest. My dad had disowned me when she was barely in the ground, after having cared for her together through three grueling years of ovarian cancer, side by side, one horrific treatment after the next. I had to leave a fence-sitting lover who wanted but wasn’t-yet-ready-for children. I had to strike out on my orphaned, onliest own.

And then the second one was the opposite. An insane love flared up between me and a piney, unattainable crush. He proposed parenthood on the second date, and we were sitting in a world-class fertility practice four months later, going over the costly choreography of his egg, my womb, and our gay donor’s sperm. Despite the intricacies and statistical ridiculousness of baby number two—37-year-old egg, 46-year-old womb, 50-year-old sperm—the second pregnancy came together in short order and the birth, unlike her brother’s harrowing, failure-to-breathe arrival, was mercifully simple. She emerged eyes-open, screaming, and latched like we were made for each other.

When I was a young queer, in love in rural Pennsylvania in the early 80s, I said to my lover: I wish I could carry your baby. And we smiled wistfully at each other. Louise Brown was just a few years out of her miraculous petri dish, and lesbians were barred access to sperm banks. The life and the world we longed for seemed out of reach.

Now here I am in my 60s with two kids, a crazy-quilt family of my own making, a life I love. So, everyone will have to excuse me if I don’t see the world as ending, just yet. Even as my own children decry the warming of the planet and the inexorable march of state violence, on the daily. I look into their once improbable faces and I understand fully the power of resistance—all the hopelessness it can shatter, all the joy it can bring.

Jaime M. Grant is a sober queer feminist writer/activist. She lives, loves, and makes trouble from her home base of Washington, D.C.

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